The Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit is kicking off in Kazakhstan, with the admission of India and Pakistan topping the agenda. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who already met Chinese leader Xi Jinping, will take part in the leaders’ meeting.
Putin has arrived in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, on Thursday, prior to the opening of the SCO summit scheduled for Friday. On his first day of the visit, Putin also held a brief meeting with Xi to compare notes before the main event.
Official approval of India’s and Pakistan’s accession bids will become a key part of the summit. The two Asian powers have long aspired to become full members of the SCO, with their membership memoranda signed during the 2016 summit in Uzbekistan.
Moscow believes the move will dramatically expand the organization’s capacities to influence international affairs.
The SCO will now include four nuclear powers – Russia, China, India and Pakistan – not to mention the member states’ economies. According to rough estimates, the SCO members combined will comprise around half of the world’s population and produce a quarter of global GDP.
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